Jon Huntsman won’t try to compete in Iowa

Prospective presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said Saturday that he won’t try to compete in the Iowa caucuses early next year.

Speaking at a Republican breakfast at a North Conway, N.H., hotel and sounding more and more like he’s preparing a run at the GOP nomination, Huntsman tied his strategy to his opposition to federal agricultural and ethanol subsidies.

“I’m not competing in Iowa for a reason,” Huntsman said. “I don’t believe in subsidies that prop up corn, soybeans and ethanol.”

The ex-Utah governor and former U.S. ambassador to China said subsidies “distort the global marketplace” and lead to food inflation.


“We will be competing vigorously here, in South Carolina and Florida. I probably won’t be spending a lot of time in Iowa,” he said. “I understand how the politics work there.”

Iowa likely would be a challenge for Huntsman, who is viewed with suspicion by some conservatives because of past support for climate-change policies and civil unions. In that respect, New Hampshire may be a better fit.

He has not formally declared himself a 2012 candidate. Iowa is scheduled to hold its caucuses Feb. 6, with New Hampshire expected to hold its first-in-the-nation primary Feb. 14.